Showing posts from August, 2016

Snapshots - #42: Thor: Ragnarok, Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool, LBJ

Thor: Ragnarok (2017), (♦♦♦♦½): Thor has saved earth twice by now and has, for the last two years, wandered the universe searching for infinity stones. He hasn't found any. He has, however, become prisoner of an enemy of Asgard, Surtur, who tells Thor that his visions of Asgard engulfed in flames is a premonition of Ragnarok—the destruction of Asgard, which is already in motion. Thor frees himself and arrives at home to find Loki sitting on the throne, passing as Odin, and neglecting his duties to protect the Nine Realms. With Odin's exile, Asgard's enemies have been reassembling, but Odin's death may just free Hela, a goddess against whom neither Thor nor Loki are enough.
It was in Thor: The Dark World where Loki, an antagonist, first threatened to steal the show. He became the villain that Marvel fandom loves to hate. While Loki is at his most charming in this film, the director, with the help of a sparkling screenplay, has very much exploited the great chemistry of t…

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (♦♦♦½)

"The Lord of the Silver Fountains, The King of Carven Stone... The King Beneath the Mountain Shall Come into His Own! And the Bell Shall Ring in Gladness At the Mountain King's Return, But All Shall Fail in Sadness And the Lake Will Shine and Burn." Prophecy of the House of Durin

The twelve dwarves led by Thorin, heir of the House of Durin—son of Thrain, son of Thror—, and Bilbo Baggins, have reached Mirkwood, the forest that borders the lands of the Elves of the West, for that is the shortest route to Lonely Mountain. Giant spiders have taken hold of the forest, and our entourage will have to contend with those, only to encounter not very welcoming elves when they leave it behind.
Fleeing from the elves, and with orcs hot on their trail, Thorin's party is aided by a smuggler who helps them cross the lake that follows the river, until they reach Lake-Town, where they promise riches in exchange for safe passage for the rest of their journey to Lonely Mountain. However, it remai…

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Adventure, (revisited) (♦♦♦♦)

Once again, Peter Jackson has created magic in a land he knows well: Middle-Earth. Under his wizardry wand, all sorts of evil mythical creatures such as goblins, orcs, and trolls come to life. Evil always lurks in the shadows in this realm, but goodness manages to keep it at bay. Under Jackson's steady guidance, thirteen dwarf warriors of Erebor, the wizard Gandalf the Grey, and a very cautious hobbit named Bilbo Baggins, embark on a quest to reclaim the Lonely Mountain, which was taken two generations ago from the dwarves—their rightful owners—, along with its riches, by Smaug, the dragon.
Middle-Earth is again a visual feast, both heaven and hell. Despite running for close to three hours, the pace is fast as pitfalls abound. The top notch special effects that made the Lord of the Rings trilogy a smashing success also enhance this saga. A new technique that makes more than 24 frames per second gives a “you are there feel” as never before seen.
I can't praise the editing, for th…

Snapshots - #7

TV shows...
Black Sails (♦♦♦♦): in Season 2 there were many revelations, and in the last episode we experienced the mother of all pirate's attacks on the North Carolina colony as payback for its prominent citizens wanting to hang Captain Flint after a summary public trial.
In Season 3, we encounter Captain Flint again at sea, but this man is more at war with the world than he is ever been. John Silver, now his quartermaster, thinks that bad things materialize due to Flint's demons. But if that's the case, this time the crew of The Walrus will look at death in the face several times before they return to Nassau. Even then, nothing is certain, for a British governor, Woodes Rogers, has taken hold of Providence Island without a battle by giving pardons to the pirates who inhabit it. Leave it to Charles Vane and Captain Flint to raise their voices—and swords—in dissent.
After the explosive Season 2, Season 3 feels more subdued, like a transitional state between the bad and the wo…

Snapshots - #6

I have been watching TV shows and a few of this year's movies, as you know I do, but not finding much to comment about what I have seen. Then, in an effort to spice things up, I streamed several concerts that I rented, and suddenly my muse was back.
A month ago I downloaded a 3-in-1 album with a compilation of the Greatest Hits of the British quartet Queen. All I knew from them, or so I thought, was Bohemian Rhapsody and We Are the Champions, but listening to these albums made me acknowledge that I knew more of their repertoire than I had ever realized. I fell in love with them, even losing hours of precious sleep because some songs got stuck in my head.
I read the band's profile and among the things I read was that they were never critics' darlings. Their mixture of semi-operatic, complex vocals, soaring anthems, and rich piano and guitar notes apparently weren't everyone's cup of tea.
Back in the early1990s, my cousin's boyfriend gave her, as a present, an album…